Survey results in New Jersey released Wednesday show both President Obama's residual strength in a classic coastal suburban state at the core of the new Democratic electoral map - and why Mitt Romney may offer Republicans a better chance than his rivals of denting that fortress.
The Quinnipiac University survey showed that although New Jersey voters split only evenly on President Obama's job performance, he led all four of the leading GOP presidential contenders by substantial margins. In a potential 2012 match up, the poll showed Obama leading both Rick Perry and Herman Cain by 23 percentage points and Newt Gingrich by 19 points. Only Mitt Romney held Obama to a single-digit advantage and he just barely: Obama led him 49 percent to 40 percent.
Romney, though, was the lone GOP candidate to hold Obama under 50 percent in New Jersey, and he did so by leapfrogging the president among college-educated white voters while the other Republican competitors lost that category by gaping margins. In 2008, Obama narrowly topped John McCain among New Jersey's college-educated whites, 51 percent to 49 percent, according to exit polls.